*Warning: This is a long post with lots of pictures but wanted to make sure I captured our time away!
Our family has discovered that day camping is our thing. Kenny and I don’t love overnight tent camping but have always wanted to give the kids some sort of camping experience. One year we rented some friends’ camper and stayed on their property in the mountains overnight. Another year we joined some friends during the day at their campsite. This summer we decided to give day camping a try and we loved it. And of course, this year, with so many vacations and trips canceled, EVERYONE is camping. So many campsites were completely full but we found a gem of a place just an hour out of town.
Promontory Picnic Area at Rampart Reservoir is designed specifically for day use and it was perfect. We found a campsite that overlooked the lake which was so beautiful. It was somewhat close to the parking lot so we didn’t have to haul our supplies too far. And maybe the most important thing – there were bathrooms in the parking lot.
We arrived shortly after 9am. After getting camp set up, Kenny and the kids headed to the lake to fish and I enjoyed a little time to read. One of my absolute favorite things is listening to the wind blow through pine trees. It is a unique, beautiful sound; very different than wind blowing through the leaves of deciduous trees. I loved sitting still and enjoying the beauty around us. While this summer has been a pretty slow one for us, there is still benefit to getting out of town, out of our daily routine and responsibilities and just being in nature. Time slows, you notice more beauty around, you breathe a little easier, and slowly you start to relax. It’s a glorious feeling.
We cooked lunch and dinner over the campfire which to me is a big part of the fun. Kenny did most of the work starting the fire and keeping it going. We made hot ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch using Tonkas (more on those later) and also brought chips and raw veggies. And for dessert, hot apple pie. Yum. Dinner was hot dogs, chips, veggies, and smore’s for dessert. Nothing fancy but fun and easy to cook. Tonkas are square, cast iron, camp cookers, the size of a piece of bread. You melt butter in them first, then add your sandwich, hook it together, and it cooks over the fire like a grilled cheese sandwich. We did the same for dessert only put apple pie filling between both slices of bread. Kenny grew up camping with a couple from church during his elementary & middle school years. He learned a lot from them about camping – including how to cook with Tonkas! Thank you, Jim & Diane!
The afternoon was very restful. We hiked a little and explored. We saw people kayaking, fishing, hiking and mountain biking. The weather was so beautiful too. At home it was supposed to be around 90 degrees that day, but when we arrived at the campsite (elevation of 9,100 feet), we all grabbed our jackets. It was around 70 degrees all day with a mix of sun and clouds which was perfect. Later in the afternoon, darker clouds starting rolling in so we cooked an early dinner in case we needed to leave early. We packed up most of camp after dinner then Kenny and the kids went for another hike. While they were gone, a very strong wind came up so I finished packing up and when they returned we started carrying everything to the van. By the time we were all loaded up and the fire was extinguished, of course the sun came out again and it was calm and beautiful. While we didn’t really want to leave that early we decided it wasn’t worth setting camp back up. We arrived home around 7pm, all had showers, and went to sleep in our own beds. What a beautiful, full day. We hope to do more day camping in the future!